Blitzboks wary of pool threat

South Africa are expecting tough encounters against Canada, Wales and hosts USA at the Las Vegas Sevens this weekend.

The Blitzboks, who have won the Las Vegas tournament three times in the past five years, are coming off two disappointing finishes at the Wellington and Sydney Sevens.

However, they have been boosted by the return of skipper Kyle Brown, record SA point-scorer Cecil Afrika, Branco du Preez and Justin Geduld, who have all recovered from their respective niggles, as well as the return to sevens rugby of Bryan Habana and Ryan Kankowski.

‘A couple of weeks ago the guys were in Wellington and Sydney and they played some unbelievable rugby,’ said Brown. ‘It’s such a privilege to be part of this team again and hopefully we will be able to maintain the momentum here in Vegas. The USA will be bursting with pride playing at home in front of their own fans. As a player, it’s nice to be part of such a fixture and you know that as a team you will have to be incredibly strong and focused.’

Coach Neil Powell said the team has concentrated heavily on its discipline during training for the USA event.

‘Intensity and discipline are two of the areas that we basically had a look at and said it is important, especially in the knockout stage. It cost us some tournaments and some games in the past,’ said Powell. ‘Our focus going into the knockout stage is be to be more disciplined and trying not to give away cards in the knockout stage, because it will cost you.’

Blitzboks' Pool D fixtures:

Saturday, 4 March
02:35: vs Canada
05:58: vs Wales

Sunday, 5 March
00:30: vs USA

Photo: Carl Fourie/Gallo Images